Paul S. Martin Collections

Under prior circumstances it was very difficult to access and utilize the substantial collections accumulated in the course of Paul Martin's research and there was no effective summary of these materials that could be used to respond to requests for detailed information. The previous electronic database offered little more than a composite artifact list from each Martin site. The Field Museum has adopted FileMaker Pro software, and the Martin data have been transferred into this format. For those items that had previously been catalogued and entered in the electronic database, there was no consistency in the description of the artifacts; we have now standardized the catalog entries. There are over 250,000 items in the collection that were never catalogued; we are currently engaged in the process of cataloging those items.

The Anthropology Department continues to receive numerous inquiries regarding the Martin collection. This is due partially to Martin's excellent publication record and the ease with which researchers can acquire copies of Fieldiana, the primary avenue for publication of Martin's research. The site reports that Martin published in Fieldiana are basic and inadequate for modern research needs, however. This has lead to frequent research inquiries concerning the Martin collection to which we have not been able to adequately respond. With the new electronic database, standardized catalog entries, and complete cataloging, interested scholars will be able to answer their own queries over the Internet. The Martin collection is a unique cultural and natural resource, and a number of graduate students and scholars have in the past year made use of lithic and ceramic assemblages from the Martin collection for their research. In addition to these studies, a suite of never-before-analyzed tree-ring samples from sites such as Broken K Ranch, Carter Pueblo, and others, has been submitted to the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research for analysis. We eagerly await the results of all their analyses. Scholars interested in this research, or who would like to make use of the Martin collections themselves, should contact Project Director.

Paul Sidney Martin was employed by the Field Museum of Natural History from 1929 until his death in 1974. For nearly thirty years, (1935-1964) he served as Chief Curator in the Department of Anthropology, and in many ways his influence and contributions are still felt more than two decades after his retirement.

Martin was born in Chicago on November 20, 1899, and stayed in his hometown to earn his Bachelor's Degree in English and anthropology at the University of Chicago in 1923. The faculty of that institution accepted his Ph.D. dissertation, entitled "Origins and History of the Kiva in the Southwest," in 1929.

Martin's inaugural fieldwork for the Museum focused on Lowry Ruin, a 12th Century pueblo consisting of approximately 50 rooms in three stories, with an associated Great Kiva, located in southwestern Colorado. Martin worked at Lowry Ruin and other sites in the area for a total of seven seasons between 1930 and 1938. In general, the 1930s bore witness to a number of significant archaeological discoveries in the American Southwest, including the identification and delineation of the prehistoric Mogollon and Hohokam cultures south of the Colorado Plateau. Martin was not to miss these important new research arenas, and in 1939 moved his field operation to Reserve, New Mexico, to investigate the major characteristics of the Mogollon Culture.  fter sixteen years of highly productive research in this vein, he moved his camp to east-central Arizona, near Vernon, in an attempt to determine what happened to the Mogollon. It was during this last phase of his research that Martin had perhaps his greatest impact on North American archaeology, for he began collaborating with large numbers of students and young scholars who were making significant contributions to the development of archaeological method and theory.

Martin's record of archaeological fieldwork record in the American Southwest is unsurpassed, and The Field Museum's collection of prehistoric artifacts resulting from that research is unparalleled in quality and scope, if not quantity. Martin excavated sixty-nine sites ranging from Archaic Period sites such as the Wet Leggett Site (see Martin, et al. 1949 and Martin and Rinaldo 1950) in west-central New Mexico, to large pueblo sites like Carter Ranch (Martin, et al. 1964) and Broken K Pueblos (Martin, et al. 1967) in east-central Arizona. Excavations at Tularosa Cave in 1950 revealed a nearly continuous record of occupation from the early Archaic to historic periods (Martin and Rinaldo 1950), and the site remains of critical importance in Southwestern prehistory.